Understanding how people look for information is important. It’s what makes tools like Google work. Most clients will come to Citizens Advice through a search engine but many, especially advisers, use the site navigation. We’ve been researching how people look for things on citizensadvice.org.uk so we can help them get to the advice they need as easily as possible.
User research around debt and money revealed that our content wasn’t always easy to find. We did a card sorting exercise to:
- understand how users (clients and advisers) group different pieces of debt advice content for navigation purposes
- investigate if users understand the different debt content titles on the existing site and whether we need to review any terminology used
How we did open card sorting
We used an online tool that allowed us to randomise a list of 27 different debt content titles – each of these were known as ‘cards’, 5 of those cards were from a control group containing mortgage titles. The control group contained a different style of content titles which were easy to group.
Each person was asked to group the cards in any way that made sense to them and to provide each group with their own chosen heading. Comments were also captured during the exercise which was a good way of recording if anyone was confused by any of the content titles during the exercise.
After the open card sort exercise was completed, each person answered a series of questions in a mini-survey that included open-ended questions to understand the reasons behind people’s groupings and choices.
We ran the testing with 54 users. We targeted clients who had visited our debt and money pages on our website and advisers from across the country.
How we did the analysis
Firstly we analysed the card sort exercise looking at a series of different result outputs to understand how users grouped the cards and what they named their groups. These outputs included a similarity matrix, dendrogram and correlation tables.
Combined with the analysis of the open-ended answers from the survey we could deduce confidently how users grouped subjects within debt and money. The control group “Problems with mortgages” were grouped as expected.
Aside from the card groupings we also acquired important information about which cards users were confused about and found difficulty in choosing a group for. These cards were consistent throughout our sample – of the 27 cards that were sorted, the same 6 cards had confused users. This told us that the wording of these cards were not very clear and would require a review by the content team.
Interestingly there were no differences between how advisers sorted the cards compared with clients.
Our most important learnings
For navigation, we learnt that users grouped budgeting and money management as a totally separate group which it currently isn’t on the website. For debt, we learnt that users prefer a two-step approach. There were was a very distinct type of debt grouping which led us to understand how users wanted their debt content to be sorted and organised:
The two groups were labelled: “What to do when in debt” and “Managing your debt”.
The meaning behind these group headings were consistent across the sample – “What to do when in debt” meant “what are my first steps?” and “what should I do first?”. The group “Managing your debt” contained more urgent debt actions and the meaning behind this group were along the lines of “things that I must do” and “what actions should I take for urgent debts?”.
Our next steps
We are currently looking at different sources of data from our analytics and our past research to see if we can unearth some more insights. Once we know where our knowledge gaps are we can start testing new models of navigation.